Crosswalk Buttons in Los Angeles; Why?

When I first moved to Los Angeles I was waiting on a corner to cross the street when the light turned green, but the crosswalk signal did not. I waited, figured it was a delayed walk signal. Much to my chagrin the light turned red and I never got the go-ahead to cross. Then I looked down at the light post and saw the walk button. “Do I have to press this?” Apparently I did.

There were walk buttons when I was growing up in New York but they didn’t do anything; the walk signs changed on their own. Eventually all of the walk buttons went away. The same thing should happen here.

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There really is no reason to have walk buttons — the walk signs should change when the lights change. I’m sure it would be simple to do. In addition to just being common sense, it would save money in the long run because crews would not have to respond when walk buttons break, which so often happens.

I know there are not always people crossing the streets in our car-dominated city, but I don’t think it would hurt any if the walk signs kept changing. It’s a minor thing, but it just bugs me.